Chilli, tamarind and parmesan courgetti

Posted in: LF, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

OK, so I’ve done something controversial. I’ve sat on the fence. While this recipe makes a feature of courgetti, it’s not paleo, or anti-carb. It’s here for it’s pure deliciousness, alongside faithful old spaghetti. Over the decades I’ve toyed with various iterations of my Go To telly comfort food, recently finding the 50/50 mix not only fills me more than the vegan version, it adds texture and a clean crunchiness to the sometimes heavy pasta only version. In fact, it got the thumbs up from several of my ‘it’s not a meal without 1kg of carbs’ male friends. For the record, a 70-80g pasta portion (as Italians take it, I’m told) appears to have none of the usual bloat infamy I’m prone to. If still unconvinced, though, there’s zero taste compromise with 100% courgetti; I do both. And left-overs as a salad the next day are incredible.

Chilli, tamarind and feta courgetti

Feeds 2

INGREDIENTS

1 courgette, grated or spiralled
140g spaghetti
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 dsp tamarind paste – I like the big tubs from Indian supermarkets
1 tsp dried crushed chillies
Feta, cheddar cheese or parmesan to taste.

Optional:

1 dsp sun dried tomato paste (or bought) – I do without if I don’t have in the fridge.
1/2 tsp turmeric – I add where I can due to its incredible health benefits.

METHOD

Prep the ingredients. Grate the courgette and cheese; chop the garlic and sun dried tomatoes.

Set the frying pan over a medium to low heat and add the oil. Put the spaghetti to boil – not the courgette!

Add the remaining ingredients (apart from the cheese) to the frying pan in the order listed above, cooking gently until they warm through and the garlic turns translucent. Be very careful not to burn the garlic or pesto (if using) here.

Remove from the heat and fold in the pasta, courgetti and half of the cheese. Transfer to heated bowls or plates and top with the rest of the cheese.

For me, this is comfort food absolute, hot or cold.

Seasonal Seducer: Courgette

Posted in: Uncategorized

MOST ATTRACTIVE FEATURES

Packed with fibre and low in carbs and calories, this green squash is a dieter’s best friend.

WHY WE FELL IN LOVE

1 whole courgette = just 18 calories and is made up of 94% water. Bring on the skinny comfort courgetti!

Sun dried tomato and cashew nut pesto

Posted in: DF, N, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

Delicious with just about anything, this is a grazing plate and BBQ’d burger’s best friend. But given our monsoon weather, maybe opt for the slathered over toasted sourdough, avocado and / or bacon option. The ‘clarted over courgetti’ (or pasta) variety makes a regular appearance on my instant healthy supper table. With jamón and cold meats; stirred through tomato dishes to give them, well… more. I’m sure my tips are superfluous, I doubt anyone’s a stranger to pesto. Add parmesan if you want but the flavour’s so good, it really isn’t necessary. This lasts for weeks, I make a big batch ensuring I’m never without.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 13.34.36

INGREDIENTS

200g sun dried tomatoes
2 tbsp cashew nuts
4 tbsp olive oil – I use the oil from the tomato jar.
1 tsp dried red chillies. Or 1 tsp Kema Kulo if you have it.
1 clove garlic – optional.
Pinch sea or Himalayan pink salt
1/2 tsp turmeric – untold health benefits

METHOD

Add all ingredients to a blender, Magimix or Vitamix and blitz until you a have rough paste. Basically as you would pesto.

IMG_3644

Store in the fridge in an airtight jar or container for as long as you would sun dried tomatoes. My guess would be you’ll eat it long before it goes off.

Creamy superseed and coconut butter

Posted in: DF, N, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

Relentlessly moreish, filling and self-righteously nutritious, almond butter has been one of my storehouse staples for many years. Slathered on toast, dolloped into smoothies or mainly, scooped from the jar pre or post training, yoga or surfing. This is the iPhone 6S to the 4, upgrade now. To retain the health benefits, I keep most of the ingredients raw, but toast 1/3 of the nuts and seeds for extra flavour.

Coconut-superseed-butter

Makes: A vat, you may want to halve measures

INGREDIENTS

400g almonds
200g sunflower seeds
150g pumpkin seeds
250g peanuts or cashews – both delicious, although peanuts are much cheaper.
3 tbsp coconut oil – in this recipe I use virgin / unheated for a stronger coconut flavour
Pinch sea or Himalayan pink salt

METHOD

In a 180 degree oven, lightly toast 1/2 the almonds and cashews until the edges start to brown with the centres remaining white when you bit in the middle. Approx. 6 mins.

Toasting gives a more intense nutty flavour. I like to keep some raw so as to maintain as many nutrients as possible, without compromise to flavour, but you can swap as you wish.

Using a Magimix or wide based blender:

This recipe couldn’t be easier: add all ingredients and combine.

After 1 min, stop and scrape down the sides.
If making a crunchy nut butter, remove 1/3 of the breadcrumb consistency nuts and set aside. If you like a smooth butter, there’s no need to do this.

Continue blending, scraping down the sides every minute or so, until the nuts release their own oils and the butter loosens – 6 mins upwards, depending on the power of your blender.
For crunchy, return the retained 1/3 of nuts to the finished nut butter at the end and combine lightly; be sure not to overblend or you´ll get a smooth butter.

Using a Vitamix or tall blender:

You’ll need to go more slowly and carefully so as not to clog and overheat the blades. Start with half the almonds and all of the oil (Vitamix seems to need liquid, annoyingly) and continue to add through the top hole as the nuts blend fully.

I go pretty slowly on a low number setting and scrape down the sides every 30 secs or so.

Spooning-nut-butter

Your nut butter will keep in sealed jars for several weeks, although I imagine it will be long gone before then; this has passed the taste test with countless people, it’s seriously addictive.

 

Seared tuna with parsley pesto

Posted in: DF, LF, S, SF, Uncategorized

Located between the Mediterranean and Atlantic, Tarifa, and indeed the Cadiz coast, is famous for its Atun Almadraba. Fished between April and June using the same method as the Phoenicians and later the Romans, it´s considered respectful of the species. A la plancha (seared), tartare or in a bun (The Reason for Bread), you’d be hard pressed to find a substandard tuna steak here. This recipe was inspired by my favourite Tarifa restaurant Bar El Frances; for me, the herb pesto addition raises the bar on the town´s ubiquitous tuna perfection. I´ve added minutes for a (hopefully) foolproof tuna steak en casa. Vegan’s, veggies, anti-fish people: I keep a jar of the dressing in the fridge to mash into avocado or stir through salad. Trust me.

Tuna-backup-shot

Feeds 2

INGREDIENTS

2 tuna steaks
30g / bunch parsley
30g / bunch basil or your choice
1 tbsp cashew nuts
1 clove garlic
200ml olive oil
Tsp sea or Himalayan pink salt
Tsp grind black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp Kema Kulo or sub for 1/2 green chilli – optional

METHOD

Start by making the dressing. Blitz all ingredients in a Magimix, Vitamix or blender until herbs finely chopped. You’ll need to stop to scrape down the sides midway, potentially more if using anything other than a Magimix.

Parsley-&-coriander-salsa

Transfer to a jar or sealed container and set aside. Make half quantities if you just want enough for the fish; you should still have a little left over.

To make the tuna: set a frying pan to heat on full power. When very hot, add a drizzle of olive oil, followed by the steaks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

I like mine poco hecho (virtually raw), so 30 seconds on each side is perfect.

Tuna-30secs-each-side

For ‘en su punto’ (‘just right’ a little raw in the centre), fry for 1 min on the first side and 30 secs on the reverse.

Tuna-1min

Well done needs a minute on each side. Any more and it will turn chewy.

Transfer to a plate, drizzle with the pesto and serve with spring´s new potatoes crushed with salt and olive oil, or with salad. Aproveche!

Tuna-bun

For seriously delicious ‘El Frances Montaditos’, sandwich a piece of your tuna in a bun with a slice of tomato, a little lettuce and red onion and un poquito of herb dressing. Incredible.

Tuna-montadito

 

Cauliflower & truffle pureé

Posted in: S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

It’s almost wrong how faff-free yet tasty this is. I’m not sure there’s an easier tap dancing addition to the Christmas feast; the perfect last minute option for those who err towards party participation over planning. And for the complex carb fascists and paleo people out there, you can still have your mash and eat it.

Cauliflower-&-truffle-puree

Feeds 4 – 6

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cauliflower, steamed.
1/2 cup milk of your choice – cow’s, coconut, soya. Or water from steaming.
3 tbsp olive oil
25g (good) Grana Padano or parmesan
1 dsp / drizzle white truffle oil
Pinch sea or Himalayan pink salt and black pepper

METHOD

Steam cauliflower for 10 mins, or until soft but retaining a bite. Puree all ingredients until super smooth with a blender or Vitamix. Re-heat when you’re ready to eat.

That’s it. Happy Christmas!

Tip: 50/50 turnip and cauliflower’s also delicious.

Kale, ricotta & chorizo rosti

Posted in: Featured, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

Kicking off the long promised Kale-fest (briefly interrupted by Valentine’s and Pancake Day) with a crowd pleasing brunch. Yes, healthy comfort food does exist. This recipe’s hearty and indulgent, yet packed with antioxidants, Vitamins C, A and K and cholesterol lowering goodness. Hail the Kale!

Crispy and robust, kale’s a natural bed fellow for rosti. Poached egg and avocado are a match made in heaven with the smokey chorizo, and the chickpea flour make these a gluten-free option packed with goodness. Veggies, you can drop the chorizo – the lemon ricotta and smokey paprika are already bursting with flavour. I also love these as a light supper with hung yoghurt and chimichurri. Note: you just use enough coconut oil to keep the rosti from sticking, no deep frying!

Kale,-ricotta-&-chorizo-rosti

Makes 14 fritters

INGREDIENTS

150g chickpea flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp turmeric (for gut health)
1 good tsp smoked paprika
3 lemons, juice of all, zest of 1
150g curly kale
100g ricotta
80g chorizo – I like the thin ‘cooking chorizos’
150 ml water
1 tbsp coconut (or olive) oil, for frying

METHOD

Chop chorizo into mini pieces, approx. 1cm cubed. Pre-heat frying pan, drop in chorizo pieces and dry fry for a couple of minutes, or until crispy. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Mix ricotta with lemon zest and set aside. Sift flour, salt and spices into a large bowl. In stages, add juice of 2 lemons (retain the third for serving) and 150ml water. Beat into a thick batter, removing any lumps.

Add in the kale and mix with your hands – much quicker for breaking down the kale. You’ll also find the chunkier stalks pretty much pop out so you don’t need to painstakingly pick through removing them beforehand. I eat the smaller bits, Dolly (dog) eats the chunks. Really.

Heat a little coconut oil in a frying pan on a medium flame and dollop in 1 dsp of mix per fritter. You’ll need to press down lightly, ensuring there are no holes but don’t worry about a perfect edge; you’re going for rostis.

Fry for 2 mins on one side, or until reddish brown and 1 minute on the reverse. Don’t touch or move in between or they’ll mush as opposed to crisp.

Squeeze over the remaining lemon juice and eat right away. Ideal for instant suppers or snacks, you’re mix will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

 

DIY Christmas gifts

Posted in: Uncategorized

In the wake of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, here are some DIY foodie gifts you can do from the kitchen, mostly. From homemade Almond, orange & cranberry granola in a super stylish Skandi jar to spicy nuts in a kitsch sugar shaker. Show your love with design led DIY that lasts beyond the Quality Street bucket. And with treats that won’t have you sweating out all of January in the gym.Noel-bull

 

Cranberry & lemon amoretti are a great Christmas failsafe: Festive fare, deliciously indulgent, yet healthy (high protein, low carb, no refined sugar) and so easy an ape could be trusted to make them. You can’t go wrong with Spicy nuts for a New Year’s eve boozy or juicy pairing and Cacao nut energy balls are great for those determined to avoid sugar overload.

Christmas-Gather-&-Gather-bags

Cox-&-Cox

I recently designed the above sweetie bags for Gather & Gather’s extensive cafes and restaurants, but Cox & Cox do an exhaustive supply of ribbons and wrapping to inspire the least creative and most time pressed among us. Something as simple as a ribbon tied jam jar, cellophane or greaseproof looks great and is super easy.

If wrapping paper wrestling’s not your thing, however, or if you need something that really tap dances, here’s my pick of the best buys to house and gift your wholesomely seductive recipes:

 

Sugar-shaker-&-storage-jar

Two containers to fill the fussiest of friends or hosts with glee. Ideal for Spicy nuts or Almond, orange & cranberry granola – the perfect boxing day breakfast.

Airtight and stackable stoneware jars, available in various colours from £32, Skandium.
Rocket St George sugar shaker, £7.50.

 

Skandium-salt-&-spice-grinder

Dr-Pepper

These have to be hands down the most covetable salt and spice grinders I’ve set eyes on. Made for my famous Sesame & rosemary spice.

2 pack grinder £45, Skandium. Sergeant Pepper grinder (£15) and oven gloves (£22), Rocket St George.

 

The recipes I’ve picked are my cupboard staples, tested and reviewed by friends, cafes and yogis to the point I deem them worthy of festive feasting and giving. In fact, I’m spending Christmas in the sun (sorry, no gloating or smugness intended) and have been primed that all of the above are to form part of our Cape Town kitchen menu. I’ll share more tips for Christmas indulgence that won’t bust a bikini here, including next week’s, Spiced orange & cranberry granola.

Recipes from this post

Cranberry & lemon amoretti
Spicy nuts
Choco nut energy balls
Sesame & rosemary spice
Almond, orange & cranberry granola

For more ideas my past posts still stand: The gift guide top 5 and Please santa…

 

From the streets: Rude Health dairy-free milks

Posted in: DF, N, Reviews, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

I’m often asked for instant protein shake recipes to tick the dairy free / vegan / energy / alkaline, even paleo boxes. OK, I may not subscribe to relentless diet lists, but I can’t ignore the fact that reducing my dairy intake makes me feel better: I have more energy, the zip on my jeans stays up and most importantly, thanks to Rude Health, my repertoire of porridges and shakes has blossomed. To be clear, the reason these guys get my vote, is because flavour is king; I prefer all varieties to cows milk. And don’t get me started on soya milk. #barf

Rude-Health

£1.99 / litre from Waitrose or Sainsbury’s. 20% off now at Waitrose.

Until Rude Health, every almond milk left me cold, which, given my obsession with almonds, baffled me. Even the brown rice version somehow tastes so much better than sugary and starchy Rice Dream. Not to mention the health benefits. Lower in saturated fat, free from dairy and refined sugar, protein and flavour packed, these are a storehouse staple for anyone; Dolly (my dog) is partial to a spot of brown rice milk. Hush.

Almond-milk

You can make your own almond milk but quite frankly, I’m not sure it’s not worth the faff. Admittedly, it tastes good but the cost to yield ratio makes Rude Health’s £1.99 price tag makes you feel they’re being robbed – you need a sack of almonds for a 100ml trickle. The homemade stuff also goes out of date quicker than an avocado turns from stone to sludge.

Not content with dairy free milk perfection, Rude Health have branched out into granolas, cereals and snacks. All very good.

Check in over the coming weeks as I blog my favourite dairy-free super shakes and recipes to help you avoid winter sniffles. Next week: Cacao, nut & berry energy shake (with almond milk, of course).

 

 

Aubergine, chilli & coriander salsa

Posted in: DF, LF, S, V, WF

I dreamt up this salsa after 4 months of craving raw, crunchy salads in India. There’s nothing I like more than fish and spice but there comes a point when even the most dedicated curry fans need to macerate. So, said recipe materialised on a Middle East stopover at my bother’s, where aubergines are as integral to the local diet as tatties are to the Irish. Once charred or roasted, few ingredients compare to the flavour and ‘meatiness’ of this super berry . For me, this salad’s at it’s best with steak or at a BBQ. You can also pair with chicken, fish or even toasted sourdough for a light lunch or supper.

Aubergine-&-tomato-salsa2

Feeds 6

 

Ingredients

3 aubergines
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt
Black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 red onion
150g tomatoes
1 bch / tbsp coriander, chopped
1 lime, juice of

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Slice aubergine into 1 inch rounds, mix with oil, salt & pepper. Lay flat on baking tray and place in oven for 45 mins, or until browned. Turn each slice every 15 mins – you want a mix of soft, charred and crispy slices for flavour and texture.

Dice tomatoes and red onion and mix with chopped coriander and lime juice.

Chop cooled aubergine into approx. 2cm pieces, mix with salsa and serve.

To salt or not to salt? Originally done to remove bitterness, today’s auberignes rarely suffer from the affliction of their ancestors. Salting can help to reduce the amount of oil absorbed during cooking, however. Once cut, sprinkle with sea salt and place in a colander for ½ hr.